1968 Buick LeSabre Land Yacht, Backwards 1959 Chevy, and More: A Tribute To Pippa Garner

The H Conte Schwimmwagen the other day reminded me of this other genuine 1968 LeSabre land yacht. Titled “Two If By Sea” (1986) it was created by Pippa Garner (formerly Phillip Garner). It’s a brilliant take on the term “land yacht”, so commonly applied to Detroit’s…barges. And the choice of the Buick, with its “portholes” and sweeping lines is of course perfect. And yes, it was operated from the “flying deck”. The only thing missing was an early Dynaflow transmission, which would have made it sound just like a cabin cruiser.

I  became aware of Garner in 1973, when his first automotive creation created a bit of a sensation: a 1959 Chevy sedan mounted backwards on its chassis. I bought Garner’s “Better Living Catalog” when it appeared in 1982, and still have it somewhere. And her drawings in the back of Car and Driver magazines was always something to look forward to.

No, it’s not a wrong-way driver. Garner’s first major project was this collaboration with the Ant Farm, flipping the body of this ’59 Biscayne front to rear. It must have raised some eyebrows in traffic. As a rather subversive-minded twenty-year old, when I heard about this all I could say was fucking brilliant! Which it was.


Can you imagine looking in your rear view mirror and see this gaining on you? And on the Golden Gate Bridge, no less. I wonder what happened to it.

Here’s another shot of the Buick. It just needs one of those platforms off the rear bumper for water skiers. Or amybe a little dinghy on a trailer.

Garner’s Better Living Catalog featured all kinds of highly practical and useful inventions. Better to have the inventor show them to Johnny Carson (and you) than try to explain them.

Here’s some of his sketches from Car and Driver:

Garner ‘s sketches appeared in the back pages there for some years, and was often the best thing in the magazine.